Speed dating but with books. Various tables are set up, and each table contains books of a certain genre (fiction, graphic novels, nonfiction, manga). Everyone says not to choose a book by its cover... BUT, honestly, we do exactly that all the time. When students start at their first table, they choose a book based on the cover they find most appealing. Then, they get to know that book better by reading the book blurb on the inside cover or the back of the book. After learning more about the book, they fill in a space on their Speed Dating form with the title, author, genre, and how interested they are in reading that book. They only have 1-2 minutes at the table before they are rotated to the next table. They have to leave all books on the table until the end when they've rotated through all the tables and genres. When the activity is finished, they have an opportunity to retrieve their match from the table they found it at... otherwise, they may browse the collection.
For English II, students completed a call number scavenger hunt, so they could get a little more familiar with finding books. They then had to unscramble the letters from the call numbers to create a sentence.
The second part required students to find a book, read a bit, and tie that information into their knowledge of contemporary music. The groups that solved the second riddle, without using their cellphones, won a prize.
For the first week of school, I wanted to create an engaging lesson for my reluctant readers that would be conversational and relevant to them with a very chill vibe. So, we gathered around my projector screen and discussed music, poetry, activism, and literature. I took the time to talk about Kendrick Lamar and his Pulitzer Prize - 1. Only one student all day knew that he won a Pulitzer. 2. Zero knew what a Pulitzer was, hence zero understood why it was so culturally significant. However, I was able to bring it back full-circle and tie that back into Jason Reynolds and Angie Thomas and art as activism and making art relevant to and representative of a culture and/or a new generation.
Are our students empowered if they don't realize that they're being empowered?
In my first year at Clark (2017-2018), I increased our circulation by 50% — checkouts grew from 6,717 (the year before my arrival) to 10,106.
My library stats for this school year represent a 9-10th grade high school campus with approximately 1,400 students.
According to USNews.com, our campus has a 55% total minority enrollment, and 28% of students are economically disadvantaged.
I hosted our library's first Poetry Slam on the last day of National Poetry Month, and it was a huge success. We had 14 students audition, and 12 students perform; there was a variety of original and published poems, songs, and original rap lyrics. The atmosphere, the entire time, was one of support and awe. I couldn't have been prouder of the students' bravery to express themselves in front of their peers. Judges scored the artists and awarded prizes, which included books by Jason Reynolds, 2Pac, Austin Kleon, Elizabeth Acevedo, brain food, and movie passes, to the top 3 performers.
During National Poetry Month, I invited students to create this colorful window mosaic out of 6-word poems written on Post-Its - a rainbow of words.
In celebration of March Madness, I created a library book tournament and began the bracket with our school's top 64 most circulated titles, which included general fiction, high/low fiction, and graphic novels. My hope was that the variety of titles meant that most students had read at least one of the books on the bracket, so that the activity was inclusive of everyone on campus. Students and teachers were encouraged to vote for their favorite books, by Google Form, bi-weekly. Throughout the month, we had a total of 424 responses; hopefully, this inspired some interesting conversations about literature. On March 29, I announced the winner, which was the Percy Jackson series.
In order, to keep interest in the top-voted novel, I created a Percy Jackson Giveaway and awarded the entire book series and the two films to the winner. Students had to post about the series on Twitter or Instagram, tagging both our library and the author Rick Riordan. The most insightful post won!
This year, my English teachers asked me to provide an activity, in addition to book talks, for their Honors students. I created an anticipation guide with statements related to the novels I planned on book talking. Students had to take a few minutes to agree or disagree with each statement. After reading the first statement to them, I had students split up, with agree on one side of the room and disagree on the other. Students then had to debate their points of view. Students had a ton to say, so we didn't make it through all of the statements, but I did tell them which statements corresponded with which books, in order to provoke interest, and then book talked those novels. It was a lot of fun AND intellectually stimulating.
Students' peers are the best people to recommend books to them; so, I created a bingo board to encourage students to talk to each other about their favorite books in different genres. The goal was for students to write down a book title and the person who recommended it for each genre. The first student to blackout their board received a book give-away, along with 9 book recommendations.